Prediction and Laplace’s Demon
Living and thinking in terms of rules, laws and determinism can certainly make life easier to understand IF you know everything there is to know. You can explain away the universe then, right? And even how it moves. Mostly by how it has always been known to move. Again IF you know all the rules.
Classical mechanics or Newtonian mechanics –
reformulations of known as Lagrangian mechanics and Hamiltonian mechanics. with analytical mechanics
and quantum mechanics.
And their equations of what force equals.
But it doesn’t explain everything. Because even the stars evolve.
And you can find yourself getting caught up in errors and chains of errors because you presume that since it usually happens that way, it always will. Or it always has to be..
Laplace’s demon was the first published articulation of causal or scientific determinism, by Pierre-Simon Laplace in 1814.
But while it’s true that the universe, the earth and all it’s species (including humanity) have cycles they (we) walk thru over and over, that doesn’t mean that there are no possible changes.
In the universe, a comet might collide with a star and take out half a galaxy. On earth, a snow storm might cause Texas’ infrastructure to go nuts for a few days. Or a hurricane might take down Puerto Rico’s for a couple years. Or humanity might go from feudalism to corporatocracy or socialism.
And if we’re stuck in how we look at these things and live in the one that no longer is instead of our current iteration, we won’t and can’t catch on to the new rules and way of living.
Some people do find this harder to do than others, don’t we? We still have artisans and farmers who won’t ever be part of the global economy. We have technophobes who think the govt is surveilling us (and they aren’t completely wrong 😋) thru our tech. And we have people who truly believe that anyone can get rich and live the dream of being a trillionaire. That we all have an equal shot at that. These people will never grasp the rules by which our current iteration of the world of money and politics work, let alone predict it.
Not that the best economists or politicians get it right either.
So are there fatalistic elements we can track? Well yes and no. Yes, we as humans do certain things we have no way of changing atm. We are reliant on air (more oxygen req’d than anything else) , water, food, our skin burns if it’s too hot, and we get hypothermia if it’s too cold. And we walk upright, and need sleep. Or we literally die. If a man and a woman who are fertile have sex, they may get pregnant. If you stay at that level, knowing what we know now, those are safe predictions.
Yet there are aspects of things that we cannot predict as well. Like it’s safe to say that if we work together and take care of each other, we should get along. We have similar needs and similar desires and fears. But humanity isn’t exactly known for that, are we? We like our conflicts too much. To the point where there is a global industry just for war.
We know so much it is catalogued in many libraries. And we know so little, the libraries of that data and theories would fill many more. We have biases, and we think we know more than we do. And when we bump up against our ignorance or fear, we rarely throw out our scripts.
So how do we think we can safely and truthfully predict? Today, any better than in the days when our ancestors cut open a sheep and ‘read’ the entrails? Cuzz we have a lot of hubris?
Good question? What do you think?